Brandenburg Tor - Brandenburg Tor information and pictures

The Brandenburg Tor is a former gate to Berlin and one of the symbolic landmarks of the city. This monument reflects the peaceful achievements of the country as well as its turbulent past.

Built in the 1730s, the gate was a part of the fiscal excise tax wall, surrounding the fortified city and its suburbs. The current construction replaced the guard houses to the gate in the period 1788 – 1791. The Brandenburg Tor was composed of 12 columns in Doric style, which supported the eleven meter-deep transverse beam. It divided the gate into 5 passageways, but only the outermost 2 were allowed for use by the citizenry. The design of the gate remained unchanged since its construction. With the defeat of the Prussian army in the Napoleonic Wars (1806), the French troops took the Quadriga to Paris. The sculpture of the Quadriga, the chariot driven by the Roman goddess of victory Victoria, originally stood atop of the gate. The sculpture was created by Schadow and faces eastward, toward the city’s center.

The Prussian forces came victorious in 1814 and reclaimed the statue. In 1933, the Nazis marched through the gate in celebration of Hitler’s rise to power, which marked the darkest period of German history.

The Brandenburg Tor is the only gate to the city that has survived as it represents a grandiose termination of Unter den Linden, a famous boulevard, lined with linden trees. The royal passage led to the palace of the Prussian kings until the city castle was destroyed. The ornamentation and construction of the gate speak of the extraordinary importance that it had for its builders. The design of the gate was inspired by the Greek Acropolis and completed by architect Carl Gotthard von Langhans. The architect chose as a model the Athenian Propylaea, the entry hall to the Acropolis, leading to a shrine of the ancient world. In a similar fashion, the Brandenburg Tor became the entry gate to the most important city in the entire Prussian kingdom.

The gate is 65 feet high and 203 feet wide, and its decoration consists of bas-relief scenes from the Greek mythology. Renovated in 2001, the monument opened in October, 2002. It is also depicted on Euro coins of 50 cent, 20 cent, and 10 cent. Important buildings in proximity are the Reichstag, the House of World Cultures, the Berlin Wall, the Soviet War Memorial, and the New Synagogue.

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